Thursday, March 1, 2012

I really, really haven't forgotten about this blog

But you know, I have school, four other blogs, and I have plans for this one, but not at the moment.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Teachers vs Kids

Here's something that's been sitting for a time, since January 4th, in fact, as I had forgotten about its existence until I began archiving posts from this blog onto my laptop. So, here it is:

As you may know from my previous drawings, I went to Special Ed because of my psychotic abusive dad steering me stupid, up until the sixth grade, whereupon I was rejected from school altogether.
` This one was apparently from the second or third grade, not sure which, when I had just started going to Garfield Elementary in Medina, Ohio. On the front of it is me and the 'retard kids' as we were known. Colorful descriptions below:

2nd grade 15 It's Coming!

Yes, those were all the kids in my class whichever year that was. We were all separated from one another via wooden dividers around our desks, so it was much like going to school in office cubicles, only less cheery.
` I remember that Candace and Tim (who I called Tom for some reason) were particularly messed up, as was tiny little Alcid, who I remember was constantly taking Ritalin and coffee throughout the day, thus stunting his growth at night.
` There was Justin, which might have been the very well-behaved Justin Huffman, in contrast with Nick, the red-haired kid who was notorious for being even a little bit worse-behaved than me. One time he collaborated with me in escaping the classroom, although one time he also poured apple sauce with milk on my head.
` Jamie was a nice kid, but was cranky from sleep deprivation because of his seizures, one of which he actually had while the teacher was explaining this to the class. (It was Mr. Maglione, so that was in the fourth Special Ed Grade. I remember him saying, "See how Jamie is making those groaning sounds, that's because he's in pain from his muscles clenching up.")
` That got me thinking often about how terrible that must be, one's life randomly interrupted on a daily basis. One time in art class I remember talking to him and he didn't answer, and I looked up to see that he had gone all stiff, so I grabbed his arm as he fell off his chair so that his head didn't crash onto the floor.
` The wasp-like one was Sirrom Sturgis, who once punched me for having a crush on him (I was making kissing sounds at him). He was notorious for throwing chairs and things, and he once broke my friend Tiffini's nose near the City Pool one day. He had a brother named Ari, who ironically had a crush on me, as I found many years later after I had been rejected from school altogether.
` Then, there's Aaron, who was a good grade school 'boyfriend' until his parents changed his diet and he stopped becoming hyperactive at lunch as I did and instead retained his composure and gave me funny looks. Still, we played games on the playground as always... until he moved to Youngstown (or was it Ashland?), and I never saw him again.
` Later on, PJ (Preston James Cook), the video game-obsessed one, would later become my 'boyfriend', although thankfully that ended with the end of my Special Ed days. Wow, he turned out to be somewhat creepy, although his mom and sister were cool as ever.

In Special Ed, Us Retards had to contend with Those Evil Teachers, which I guess were actually aides for the most part. Mr Peterson, who was always hanging out with Nick, is in the center because he was Truly Evil. Really! He dragged me down the stairs in a laundry bag! HE'S EVIL!
` Not surprisingly, he was a volunteer from the Baptist Church... OF EVIL! I even called him and Nick "Mr. Penison and Nick the Dick," and understandably, the corresponding pictures were confiscated, many Xerox copies were made for all of them to see, and I was punished accordingly.

2nd grade 16 It's the Teachers!

Mrs. Baton was small, with short black hair (looking kind of like Mrs. Teavee from that creepy Willy Wonka movie), while Mrs. Barlow had long black hair and a long face, somewhat like the picture, only not actually a beak. I seem to remember both of them putting their hands over my mouth until I couldn't breathe through the snot coming out of my nose.
` Mz. Mick was sometimes called the Hairy Egg, hence the depiction. I remember she was part of a poem I made up about her, Mrs. Groh, the Evil Misleading Counselor, and the fourth grade teacher Mr. Maglione, who I sometimes called Eee-ro-plane, for no apparent reason:

Mrs. Groh doesn't grow,
Hairy eggs are stupid,
Eee-ro-planes go 'round a pole
And are kissed by a cupid.

I didn't say it was a good poem, but bear in mind, it was fourth grade after all! Let's just say, it was much better than the one involving all of the swear words I knew.

This next drawing, done in fifth grade, was meant to be in the style of an Atari game called Food Fight, and I believe it was an accurate representation of the state of our classroom:

5th grade 03 Ice Cream Fight!

There was Justin, Tim and Sirrom, as before, as well as Chris Cepic, another kid I had gone to class with before. Ironically, so had Phil, the guy I lived with in 2005 when I had begun blogging. That was before Chris got 'Special' and started going to my class.
` Why was Chris 'Special'? It wasn't because he had the amazing ability to draw cartoon characters that looked exactly like the ones on TV (his favorite was Darkwing Duck). No, because that's a different kind of special.
` Apparently, he was known in Phil's class as Chris Septic, because he had a spastic colon. That makes sense because I do recall that Chris bathed only once a week and also had particularly bad and uncontrollable gas, which explained the smell on his side of the room -- I remember Michael Miner complaining in his high, nasal voice, "Oh, the sbell!"
` Thus, Chris was more Special because of his intestines, not his head. Ironic twist, isn't it?

Kara Higgins was the only other girl in fifth grade, and she was nicer to me than I was to her. Together, we were shunned by the teacher Ms. Kauffman, for being not only girls but retarded girls. She didn't care whether we did schoolwork, but she did have us clean the rabbit cage.
` Yes, Kauffman was bizarrely chauvinistic against girls. She didn't like when I drew pictures, but I remember her saying of one of Chris' pictures of Darkwing Duck, "I really like the expression" and she made an enlarged copy! I wonder if she taught her daughter, who she had with Mr. Porter (who had his classroom moved next to hers), to be dependent on men, or was it just us retarded girls?
` Derrick Goggins was the skinny diabetic kid, black with huge glasses, who won the spelling bee many times, and who also often cleaned the rabbit cage as well. (Maybe because he wasn't as manly as the other boys?)
` Betrias (which was how we pronounced 'Beatrice') was the rabbit of the class. PJ and I would sometimes stab her with the pencil and she would growl, and we would say, "Sharp enough for you Betrias?" We even came up with a song, celebrating what we thought to be aberrant behavior:

Neebols, neebols,
Where'd you get those peebols?
Lay 'em, spray 'em,
Then eat 'em all up!

We didn't know back then that rabbits normally eat everything two times in a row, so we just thought that Beatrice was one really messed-up rabbit.
` Oh, and I can't forget about Jason. Except that I almost have. I had to think really hard... Jason who? Oh yes, it was Jason Brasty! He was a muscly sort of kid with light hair, as I recall. I remember one day, his face was white as a sheet, and he was holding his wrist because he had hurt it falling off a swing -- and it was actually broken, so he had to go home.

The next year, I walked into the same classroom and the now-Mrs. Kauffman said to me with a scowl, "What are you doing here again?"
` Apparently I had been rejected from Garfield Elementary, at last, and so I eventually was registered at C-FIT (Child-Family Intervention Team) at 3076 A Remsen Road, where us kids had to put up with these abusive assholes:

6th grade 05 Sixth grade teachers

So, who are they? The teacher, Roger Galbraith was sometimes reasonable, but his assistant Mike Swanson was really into playing head games -- as well as wearing the same 'Kent' sweatshirt every day.
` I remember I wasn't allowed to have more than one pencil, so he took all but one of my matching set of pencils. I remember somehow I got them back and put them in my bra, thinking that getting them back would be some sort of molestation, but I was wrong -- Galbraith fearlessly snatched them out again!
` Me, being obsessive-compulsive and needing my entire set or otherwise I would have an anxiety attack, could NOT stand this and so threw my remaining pencil across the room. He retrieved it, held it out to me above his desk drawer, dropped it into the drawer and opened his hand to reveal a small 'stub' of wood, with a little pencil lead at one end and a chewed-up piece of metal at the other.
` When the principal Anne Vaner came into the room, I told her about what Mike was doing, and he said, "Oh, I'll give you your pencil back," and then he pulled exactly the same stunt, right in front of her!
` Her response? "Wull, now, Sara, there's nothing I can do about it."
` I protested, "But you're the principal!"
` But, she just told me that I was in control of everything here, so if something bad happened to me, it was because I chose it to be that way. She even told me that this was the case whenever anyone sat on me! You know, they sat on us kids? They got shut down for that, but not until after my year was over.
` Anyway, not able to write with the stub, I eventually chewed it up beyond recognition and demanded my pencils back. Of course, Mike Swanson had other plans and gave me one of those giant rectangular multi-colored crayons and asked me to write an essay with it.
` Not only was writing very difficult on lined paper, nor could I erase, but now my writing changed color every couple of letters! What a bitch!

This kind of behavior is why I depicted him as being part swan and part doughnut, which was a bad word in my class, thanks to Bill "Master Disruptor of" Bliss. ("I don't want your cheap education, you Doughnut!")
` As for Mr. Galbraith's being a mushroom, that had something to do with this horrible, scary cartoon movie where these mushroom people wanted to turn this human into a mushroom person. I had a distinctly nauseated feeling for some time, and subsequent nightmares, so that image of mushroom people really stuck with me.

There were only two rooms in this end of the school -- one was our class and one was 'the other class', taught by Mrs. Hetzal. Her students were larger and more powerful, and frequently, she had to call the police on them. On the other end of the school, we were told, were much younger kids.
` Only once did I see any small children -- there were two of them rollerblading in the gym during some special event involving Mike pitching tennis balls and us kids lining up to hit them with a racket. I sent one ball hurtling up to the ceiling and it came down right on the girl's head -- whoops! That wasn't funny, but it was funny when me and Bill hit Mike in the head!

As for the others in the picture, they helped out with managing us retard kids. I remember Allison Rafter had us cooking our breakfast, and afterward we would be forced to watch some video from the other end of the school, such as Sesame Street or The Bedrock Flintstone Kids.
` They'd turn the lights off and play the tape, whereupon I would ask to go to the bathroom and then just stay there, because I wasn't allowed to go anywhere else. This caused a lot of physical fights and me getting pinned to the bathroom floor and sat upon, all because, as a twelve-year-old, I couldn't stand Big Bird or Little Fred.
` Genetta and Genine were mother and daughter, I think, and I called them "Flower-Faces", which I thought was a big insult since flowers are sex organs, and thus something like vaginas.
` Then, there was Steph, who I remember believing she had leprosy during a wrestling match with her, which really freaked me out. I don't remember who Lori (or Laura?) the Loris was, but I recall that Colleen was the counselor and I called her 'Colleen Chevrolet Used Horses' after the cheesy commercial for Halleen Chevrolet Used Cars.

You might ask, what did I do to all these adults that they were so cruel to me? Well, I would sleep in the bean bag chair all morning since I was so sleep-deprived, and amazingly nobody would stop me, and sometimes, just to get away, I would also go crawl through an empty window pane next to a door and hang from the door so that nobody could see my legs and just hide there.
` I would also get into all sorts of physical scraps with the 'teachers', and in one such scrap, I actually ran out a side door of the school, and whoever was chasing me actually fell over as I hung onto the door and then shut it and the door locked them out!
` It was so exciting to me that I wrote lists of things I could do, like this one:

6th grade 22 Sara's Guide to Goofing Off

Most of us kids were unruly, so we all had our own lists of things to 'get' the teachers. Bill Bliss was notorious for his antics, and there was Big Dave ('David Dovid Salad Pizza Face'), who was a real idiot, but not worth picking on because of his size. I ran into Dave many years later, though, who was the one who told me that the school had been shut down after I had been kicked out because of the abuse.
` There was also Little Robert, who was usually well-behaved; another unruly red-haired Nick; Amar, who was from the Middle East or somewhere; Jason, who could barely read, but who I wrote simply-worded books starring a bobcat cartoon character similar to the one above; Anthony, whom I called Anch; and I think another one called Luke, and maybe more.
` All of them were boys, and besides a couple of girls in 'the other class' for a short time, I was the only girl on that end of the school! Presumably in order to make me feel better the 'teachers' told me that the previous year most of the students had been girls, but seeing as this is very unlikely, I didn't believe them. I still don't.
` Assholes. Just look at them:

6th grade 23 Teachers as Creaturez

Again, there's Mike and his Kent sweatshirt, the Scary and Evil Mr. G, Anne (a real 'bitch' this time), the Flower Faces, Colleen (a used car-a-pillar?), Allison Rafter (so ducking silly!) and this other lady, Sue, who for some reason I portrayed as part crustacean, part construction crane, and part French bread.
` I remember once that Mike and Mr. G were laughing about how I had behaved in front of a hidden camera (which was so badly that I don't even want to tell anyone!), and also that Mr. G once crumpled up my Best Composition Ever and threw it away and wouldn't let me get it out of the garbage before I missed my van! The same thing also happened to one of my best pictures of 'them' -- better than that one, probably!
` I also remember someone leading me into the office next to the classroom and trying to get me to drink some medication. I think it was Mike who said that my mother wanted me to take it. In recent years, I told her about this and she was shocked -- in real life, she said, they had suggested medicating me and she had laughed and said, "I don't think so, and she wouldn't take it anyway!"

My mom also told me that they had said I was a "really bad kid" and could never amount to anything, and my mom told them, "I'll let you know when Sara graduates from college."
` You know what's funny, I'm 29 and still haven't graduated from college, but it's only because of all the abuse, torture and other unbearable experiences I've had to pull myself through -- no thanks to other people who were supposed to be helping me -- not to mention I didn't start college until I was 24 and had to put up with a lot of abuse during my schooling. So, I've had a lot of things slowing me down, but as it is, I only need five more credits before I can get my transfer degree!
` I'm so close to graduating from community college, and I'm going to see an adviser about transferring to a four-year college, where I can then Fully Graduate From College! Maybe then I can look up ol' Mr. G and Mike and gloat at them. Bitchez!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Copying vs Freehand (without visual aids), a personal history

For some reason, I've never been able to draw freehand as well as I can from copying something in real life. It's always been this way for me, and I'm contemplating why that is because, well, I still don't know.

Two minutes after posting this, I realized that 'freehand' may be the wrong word!! All I mean is 'drawing without a visual aid'. Does anyone know a better word?

For example, when I was in first grade, the only 'real school' I ever had, I was given a blank bookmark to draw on, and for some reason, a Disney catalog, at the same time.
` On one side of the bookmark, I drew the talking Mickey Mouse doll from the catalog, along with Donald, Goofy and Pluto, who may or may not have also been dolls on the page, then added a stupid 'happy sun' and a rainbow.
` Pretty good for a six-year-old, huh?

1st grade 09 Disney character bookmark

That drawing was done, basically, by looking at the relative distances between the elements. Not only do I remember doing it this way, but there's also a comment among these papers from my teacher about my perspective-drawing ability; "Sarah draws what she sees, not what she knows -- table legs are longer in front and shorter in back."
` That is, indeed, how I drew pictures of tables in perspective, along with cars, and anything else that I was looking at.

But, in just plain freehand drawing, there is nothing to reference, unless you can visualize some picture just as vividly. I remember trying to do that when I was five, with an image of a rearing horse with wild purple hair, but I was never able to keep the image in my head long enough to draw it.

Moving on, let's look at the back of this same bookmark: I drew my own little scheme there, which unsurprisingly had to do with fighting and conflict and scariness, which were common themes in my life.
` Looks like the sun is freaking out because the duck pond with the winged frog is a battlefield for fire-breathing, laser-shooting cyborg monsters, which seem to have emerged from a most ominous cave.

1st grade 10 Back of the bookmark

Creative, yes, but the monsters are not nearly as well-formed as the Disney characters, presumably because I wasn't copying them from anything and thus, didn't quite know how to draw make them look realistic, which was usually what I was going for.
` I didn't copy very often, though, so I probably didn't notice this pattern back then.

Years later, when I was about 10 or 11, I was looking through a Christmas catalog at all the neat toys, and came across a photo of a puppy in one of the gift scenes. Since I was constantly drawing animals, I decided to copy it as closely as I could.
` I sat really still and did my best to duplicate the lines and the spaces that I was looking at, and the picture emerged:

6th grade 06 Puppy from catalog photo

That looks quite realistic, don't you think? At least, it doesn't look like a cartoon, which was how all my other drawings turned out, no matter how hard I tried.
` For example, this Mu-loo, a fictional animal I invented and loved to make look stupid and cute, could never have the realism I wanted:

3rd grade 26 Close up and personal with a Mu-loo

It still looks like a cartoon because I never figured out what a 'real' Mu-loo would actually look like. In other words, drawings of real things could look so real because I was able to look at their real-looking-ness!

When the movie Dumb and Dumber was released in 1994, I was 12 years old, and I must have been attending the last year of my 'special' education.
` When I saw Jim Carrey's face plastered across the cover of Nickelodeon Magazine, I simply had to make one of my own in order to poke fun of him:

no school 13 Jim Carrey...

I was somewhat impressed with that, and so, I was always disappointed to find that the best I could do without a picture was cartoons! Here's a parody of the neurotic people who had abused me in the last year of my 'special ed':

no school 01 Looking back on 6th grade

I had been hoping for photorealism to some extent, but it seemed as though I were incapable of that. Was Jim Carrey just a fluke? Why was it so realistic?
` Later on, I drew pictures of animals, copied from TV and books -- here are the most boldly-striped species of the genus Equus, a somewhat artificial grouping, collectively called zebras:

no school 86 Zebras!

I had trouble shading them, just because they're black and white, but otherwise, the stripes look 'correct' because I could just see how they went. However, I could not get the fictional hoofed animals, the Mu-loos to ever look like anything more than cartoons.
` Here, the Mu-loos have killed and stuffed their first pair of hunters, and have taken the hunters' trophies as part of their hunter-hunting re-enactment scene, with a 'hunter trophy' photo on the left, and at the table, Hunter Stew! (The end of the recipe is at top.)

no school 20 The Mu-loos eat the hunters!

That's pretty messed-up, isn't it? And I believe the two Mu-loos on the right are telling the story about how they bagged the hunters!
` Anyway, I tried my best to get everything looking like a photo, and once again, failed. I could never understand why sometimes my drawings looked fairly realistic and why they usually didn't, but at some point in time, I realized what the difference was.

Drawings copied from real life always looked accurate, because I had an accurate representation. But what of drawings from my mind? Apparently, my mind has just never been accurate.
` Today, at age 28, there is still a very marked difference between these two approaches. I wonder; is there any such way to stabilize an image in my mind so that a drawing from it looks like a drawing from real life? Would having a vivid imagination change that?

I can't say I've ever had a vivid imagination, because I was always being punished for thinking, for believing anything I saw in real life, and for playing 'let's pretend'. I remember always seeing the images in my mind shudder and warp, and for a while, I had none, save for dim memories.
` Perhaps that is the cause for this phenomenon? I don't know. I don't even know if psychologists have ever studied it, but I would be surprised if they haven't. Perhaps I will come across it someday.

For now, I'm just going to try training myself to see vivid images in my head, and we'll see what comes of it -- probably on this blog!

Friday, December 24, 2010

I Can STILL Draw -- and it helped change my life!

I'm finally tearing through overhauling my life! It may not be going as fast as I'd like because of the enormous amount of things that I'm working on, but now that I don't constantly have crazy roommates to hold me back, I've developed techniques to finish things and a strong motivation to keep going, to the point where I have confidence that I can keep up with my goals!
` In fact, the Good Doctor Nociceptor's already written a bunch about this, which you can read here.

On October 19, long after my last post here, an amazing transformation has occurred in my brain. This one psychology professor, who finds me to be fascinating (presumably because I describe to him what it's like to pass through various stages of childhood development, as an adult) said that this transformation, or at least aspects of it, normally occurs in people who are only 2 1/2 years old.
` And to tell you the truth, I've gone through even more since then, but none so shocking as the first one I mentioned!

And what was it, and why is it significant? Well, in my past, I had a very terrifying and unpredictable life of abuse, and for a while I developed a fantasy life to escape. I'd been violated so much in so many ways and brainwashed to believe that I didn't exist because my own thoughts and perceptions weren't really happening and something else was instead.
` I hated humans, because I thought they were all horrible, and often imagined myself to be some small, furry, fictional gliding mammal, like this one:

6th grade 11 Glider critters have facial expressions too!

They seemed a lot more interesting than the abusive lunatics that I knew and thought were 'normal, happy people' because I didn't know any better. I knew that animal behavior could be predicted and catalogued much of the time, but humans?
` They were always saying one thing, doing another, and telling me that what I wasn't conscious of wasn't really what I was conscious of. I was cut off from the world and everything in it... except for the fuzzy animals I liked so much!

Trying to survive in the adult world, after years more violation and abuse, and living with crazy people and trying not to jump at the slightest noise, I had figured out that earplugs helped me find my 'mental space' as long as I couldn't hear anything around me.
` For a while, this was nearly impossible because of the 24/7 loud noise I dealt with in the condemned house I'd lived in with all those crazy roommates and the fish tank motor that echoed throughout the house and kept me up all night. I literally lost my willpower and went back to 'survival habits' and low-level fight-or-flight consciousness. I was dead on the inside because I couldn't move away, and felt ashamed of myself for wanting to kill myself.
` At last, by October, I was finally living in a quiet house where people wouldn't be constantly invading my space and making me feel that my own room was their territory and that I had limited rights to it. It was my own this time, no one could take that from me.
` I had also come back to those feelings of escape and of self-identification, and drew another one of those gliding creatures:

oct 048 Glider critter, revisited

And on October 19, I was thinking about all this, when my identity with the furry thing kind of clicked together, as if putting on a mask, and I 'turned into' myself! All or a sudden, I felt as though there was a boundary around my body, my personal space, the room around me, and the moon shining through the conifers outside my window.
` This abstraction has greatly streamlined my thinking and perception so that I don't literally have to look around the room to see what is there but can instead just remember it -- the room is 'just there' in my mind.
` Without the constant noise and space-invasion, I finally feel that the space around me will not suddenly change without warning as it has for most of my life. It's just my space. The objects that I call mine are just mine, and I feel a connection to them when I hold them in my hands.

It also helps me perceive objects contained within a space. When I think of a bag or a drawer with objects in it, or even an abstract category with items within it, I can picture it, rather than having to think about it in mental long-hand.
` It's really changed my life and everything that goes through my head is so much more efficient, straightforward, and less blundering. I also realize that I now rely on more assumptions about what seems to be certainly 'there' in the world, but at least I don't have to think so hard all the time to keep it 'together' in my mind!

Such are the human mental shortcuts that allow us to be misdirected -- but I greatly prefer them over mental strain!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My man, Lucas, is on his way to stardom! We hope.

No, really! Lucas Ernst (a.k.a. Lou Ryan to his music fans) has been involved in three more projects as of late, all of which you can watch on this post!
` First of all, he stars in a surprisingly good short film, in which he shows off his acting ability, stunt capabilities, and, his Sex A-peel, all in the span of five minutes!

With all that action going on, including the special effects, it's hard to believe all that was 'thrown together' in only two days! That's why it's called the 48-hour Film Festival, and I think it's going to win some prizes!

Lucas also shows off his martial arts skills as the 'dancing janitor' in this made-for Microsoft Office 2010 TV commercial, by a different producer.
` Though it became viral on the internet and was favored overwhelmingly by the public, it only came in second place in the contest -- in other words, it still lost. No prize money for poor us! You know, something about 'production value' or some rubbish.

So, I'd say he makes a fairly decent sexy action star, as well as a playful, mop-twirling janitor genius. But, does he also make a good drugged-out loser?
` Well, view the trailer for a hopefully-upcoming TV show tentatively entitled 'Hump City' (which apparently shrinks during the embedding process) and decide for yourself!

Upcoming Pinprick Films Web Comedy Project from Pinprick Films on Vimeo.

Uncanny, is he not?

I hope this makes up for my having slacked off on this blog once more -- but you know, life has been excessively busy, for both of us! Luckily, that's mostly been a good thing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What fun! Drawings from my abusive childhood!

Hola! Qué tal? Boy do I have a huge art post for you! First, however I must say that I'm back in college this quarter, taking Spanish and am doing really well!
` My life is on track, and it's been two whole months since I've had abusive roommates stressing me out and occupying me constantly, which drastically had interfered with my ability to do school assignments.

Now it is so easy to just live my life! I am so happy now, living in a big house with a beautiful view of the sound, the best fiance ever, who is at this very moment on his way to film a TV show that he STARS IN called Dry Hump City -- and will also star in a hilarious feature film called The Boob, as long as it isn't picked up by Paramount!
` I also have the best cats ever, not to mention some easygoing roommates, and I'm planning going to go to my friend Ananda's Born-Again Trekkie Party tonight and be a huge geek!

It is ironic, then, that this art post takes place during my very first attempt at school -- that is, elementary school -- which only lasted until sixth grade when I had to be removed for 'behavioral problems'.
` These problems were assumed to have come from me, but as I well know, nothing could be farther from the truth.
` Now, having uploaded all the surviving drawings from my childhood, I was struck by how many of them from first grade alone portrayed what had been going on back then.

In this first-grade portrayal of my family and an anthropomorphic dog, can you see who the problem was?

1st grade 40 Who's the abuser?

It's very obvious. That's supposed to be me in the red dress, and it appears my mother and half-brother are protecting me from my dad -- look at their arms! I had heard about this exact thing happening in abused children's drawings, but I thought that might be reading too far into them until I saw this!
` As for the animals in the picture, that is one of our pet birds on my mom's shoulder (either Robby the robin, who loved my mom, or a starling), and what I used to call a 'half dog-half man' apparently being reluctantly pulled away from the rainbow.
` The okapi was evidently added when I found this drawing a few years later in a box, apparently because I would have rather had an okapi around than an anthropomorphic dog.

By the way, other drawings of my family show my mother being all by herself on the side and looking worried. Why was she worried, and why were they protecting me?

I think this says it all:

1st grade 13 The abusive monster himself!

My dad put me through this all the time. He'd give me rules, and regardless of whether I'd follow them or not, he would punish me brutally. Even worse, when I would cry, he would start laughing at me, and finally, I learned to laugh when I was terrified of what was going to happen to me.

Did anyone at school think I was being abused? Well, it's clear I had serious behavioral problems:

1st grade 21 It's more than ADHD, it's AD IN HD!

'Twirling', 'hiding under desk', 'singing', 'bumping head', 'difficulty following directions', 'not paying attention', 'don't want to do it'... not only did I have ADHD, but it was ten times more difficult to function because I was terrified to follow anyone's directions since at home that always led to punishment that I couldn't escape!

I remember once being in the principal's office and I was so afraid of what my dad was going to do to me later that I started looking up at the ceiling and laughing. The principal, Mr. Leher, was so angry that he slapped me in the face!

I just wanted to be left alone!

1st grade 34 Go awey! (inside cover)

I could not stand to see people who were happy to be with one another. Most people didn't like me and I was jealous of their happiness with other people, and constantly felt abandoned.

1st grade 14 Vary sad sun!

I wanted to kill other people who were happy and doing well. After my own family birthday party (I wasn't allowed to have anyone unrelated to me over), I was treated like garbage.

1st grade 36 Tragic end to the birthday snake

I just wanted to destroy everyone and everything.

1st grade 27 He is the killer!

I remember years ago reading Mrs. Padais' comments about me in first grade, which included the phrase; "Baby thunderbird crying because a monster ate parents." It must have been referring to this drawing:

1st grade 37 Monster eats thunderbird's parents!

What can I say? I saw other families being portrayed as having the parents being there for the kids. Not so for me -- my dad found every excuse in the world to punish me, and my mom seemed to agree with him, though sometimes she would protect me instead.

I was pretty suicidal as well -- I remember contemplating trying to kill myself by throwing myself down the stairs when my dad walked by. I told him I felt like I wanted to kill myself and he said everyone feels that way sometimes.
` I said, "Well, I feel that way all the time!" I thought if he was really my 'parent' he would ask why, but instead he called me a liar!

Nevertheless, my 'thunderbird' tried pretty hard to kill himself.

1st grade 43 Thunderbird under car

Needless to say, I felt trapped. Unfortunately, other people didn't seem to notice.

1st grade 46 Bird in a cage

Also, I stopped using color in my drawings around this time. Why? I really didn't see the point in it.

It was a sad time, and it only got worse when I was moved into Special Ed, where the principal, Mr. Leher (who ironically followed me from 'normal school'), would also play a role in more physical abuse, i.e. helping Mr. Peterson drag me down the stairs on my knees, and then blaming me for getting hurt.

In fact, my life just got worse and worse over the years, between being abused at home and at school, and I had no real friends. Then, I was taken out of school and abused at home, full-time, and by then my dad was a psychotic mess.
` During the day, my parents would go to work and I would be alone, obsessing over whether my dad would kill me as he often threatened to when he got back home from work.
` At night, he would often keep me at the dining room table, sometimes until sunrise, telling me how awful the world was and how everybody was out to kill him, including me and my mom, but that I didn't remember trying to kill him because I was crazy.
` He told me that my mom killed her own father, and all kinds of other terrible things, so I grew to hate her until I was seventeen and she told me that my dad was crazy. I didn't have anyone to compare him to, but I somehow knew she was right, so I stopped believing him and started trusting her.

Was that the end of my problems? Far from it. In a way, my life still got worse from other things, especially being literally tortured and locked up in a place I thought I would die in.
` I was treated like an idiot for needing emotional support and abandoned by almost everyone, including 'therapists', my mother and my so-called boyfriend, who was utterly unaware of what I was going through, but still bought me an elaborate engagement ring despite my refusal to have a physical relationship with him.

So, for needing to straighten myself out, I was treated like I was weak and stupid and for years I just shut down. I felt that I wasn't tough enough for 'the real world' when really, those other people had no idea what I had been through and what it was like for me to have chaotic terrible thoughts racing uncontrollably through my head and no happy memories to fall back on.

I finally started to care about myself and taking control of my own brain in late 2005, and since then I have been working very hard to construct, for the first time ever, some happiness and order in my own thoughts.
` Since my crazy roommates (and other low-lifes) are finally gone as of this year, this is the first time my life's struggle seems to have entirely paid off.

It has been a very long journey. And now I live in a wonderful house, with a wonderful man, who is driving off to shoot a TV show as I type this. Probably next spring I will be attending the University of Washington to become a science writer.

Who knew this could happen? I would never have guessed.

There are more of these drawings, including non-depressing ones (which I'll get to next time) in the First and Second Grade Set on my Flickr account.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

More Corrigendopedia illustrations... I mean, 'drawrings'!

I told you I'd be back!

I've just been, you know, busy with college and then other web projects that have higher priority than this one. Yeah, that whole thing. And life, too. I just saw my friends at the library for the first time in weeks!

But, enough about little old me! Let's look at what else I have on the Corrigendopedia so far!

This is one of the first drawrings I put up on the Corrigendopedia; an ostrich turning his egg.

a-s 021 Male Ostrich turning egg

It is the illustration for the page Fast Facts and Trivia: How much of it is true? (Not much, it turns out!) It's extremely fun, if lengthy, and... let's just say, I learned more about ostriches than I ever thought could be true in my dispelling myths about them.

This 'drawring' is a harvestman or 'daddy longlegs' arachnid.

jan 118 Opilionid and its lack of venom

As with the ostriches and other things, I similarly learned much more than I thought possible about harvestmen (Opiliones), and all about their poisonous secretions on two glands above the mouth (it's not venom, though).
` I talk about them as well as people who have inferiority complexes in the article Opie-WHAT-o-knees? Arachnids and my personal struggle for 'just the facts'.

It's also fun. And neurotic. It'll make your ears bleed.

My final drawring for this post doesn't have an article yet, but it's about the time one of my instructors started telling the class all about pi, and then started talking about how it's the Golden Ratio, which is actually phi, so I tried to tell her they are two separate numbers, but she didn't believe me....

dec 177 Pi versus Phi

The ironic thing is, she was touting this book The Golden Ratio: The story of PHI, the world's most amazing number, and she was holding it in her hands, and it had a picture of a phi (along with phi-filling) on the cover and she didn't realize it!

How humiliating!

Luckily, the next day at school, she realized her error and reported this to the class. I guess you could say it was one of many 'corrigenda' I did at college, but it was the only one with such a positive outcome.

She was so cool!

As I've mentioned, the article that this picture goes to has not actually been typed in and properly written yet, but I have quite a bit of it on paper!

That's basically all I have on the Corrigendopedia for now. These drawings and their respective articles can be found in the section 'Is that a Fact?', which I am currently organizing and building onto, and may be a lot more complete in the near future.

Next post... I'm doing those drawrings I drewr from childhood! And I'm not doing them by age-group either, but instead, by subject matter.